Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Anhad activists beaten up in Gujarat

The Hindu reports

NEW DELHI: Over two-dozen activists of ANHAD, a trust that works towards pluralism, secularism and democracy, were allegedly beaten up at Gandhinagar in Gujarat on Monday during an election campaign.

The attack took place in the afternoon when the ANHAD activists were campaigning in Naranpura in the Shastri Nagar area asking people to use their Constitutional rights and exercise their franchise.

“The campaign started in the morning and the activists formed three separate groups to reach out effectively to the electorate. It was around 1 p.m. when a large number of goons owing allegiance to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party wielding lathis surrounded them. Our activists, including women, were abused and pushed around. Two of them, Sachin Pandya and Robin Soni, were allegedly kicked and punched all over,” said ANHAD founding member Shabnam Hashmi, at a press conference here.

The campaign aimed at awakening people towards their Constitutional rights, including right to vote, and exploding the “myth” of vibrant Gujarat was kicked-off on Sunday.

Ms. Hashmi said the attackers took away leaflets and other printed material carried by the ANHAD activists and threatened them with dire consequences if they reported the matter to the police. “Though the activists escaped with minor injuries, but it could have turned either way. It has happened to our activists many times in the past six months. Even lodging a First Information Report is dangerous in such cases. We are now planning to approach the Election Commission in the present case,” Ms. Hashmi added.

Alleging that the BJP cadres even stopped them from filing a police complaint, Sachin Pandya, said: “When we reached the Gatlodiya police station in the evening, we found a dozen BJP cadres standing near it. Not willing to take risk, we returned without filing a report. Now we are planning to approach the Police Commissioner.”

Source: The Hindu (http://www.hinduonnet.com/2009/04/21/stories/2009042157260400.htm)

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